Finding and Updating Vaccine Records

It’s extremely important for you to track your child’s vaccination records, especially if your state requires certain vaccines for child care or school.

Saving your child’s vaccination records

exclamation circle solid icon  The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention does not store vaccination records. Keep a record of your child’s vaccination. If you don’t have a record of the vaccines that your child received, you may be able to retrieve an official copy.

Good record-keeping begins with good record-taking.  Start tracking your child’s vaccination records as soon as your child gets his or her first shot when he or she is born. You can keep track of your child’s records by:

When you maintain a copy of your child’s vaccination record:

  • Keep the record in a safe place where you can easily locate it.
  • Bring it to each of your child’s doctor visits.
  • Ask the doctor or nurse to jot down the vaccine given, date, and dosage on your child’s vaccination record.
  • Write down the name of the doctor’s office or clinic where your child got the shot so you know where to get official records when you need them.

It’s important for you to save and update your child’s vaccine records, since you’ll likely be required to provide them when you register your child for school, child care, summer camp, or an athletic team. You may also need up-to-date records when your child travels internationally.

Understand your child’s vaccination record

Refer to the vaccine acronyms and abbreviations list so you can better understand your child’s vaccination records.

Finding official vaccination records

If you don’t have a copy of your child’s vaccine records or can’t find them, you may be able to retrieve an official copy by contacting your:

  • Child’s doctor or clinic
    • Doctors and public health clinics usually track any shots they give to your child.
    • If your child has had more than one doctor or clinic give him or her shots, call or visit each one to get the records.
    • Keep in mind doctors and clinics may only save vaccination records for a few years.
  • States’ immunization registry
    • Your state’s immunization registry may have most, if not all, of your child’s records.
    • Contact your state’s registry to request an official copy.
    • Please be aware that the process for requesting records can vary greatly across states and can take some time to complete.
    • Additionally, if your state doesn’t automatically opt in its residents or you requested to opt out your child from the registry, then the vaccination records won’t be available.
  • Child’s school
    • Most K-12 schools, colleges, and universities keep on file the vaccination records of its students.
    • Take into account that schools generally keep these records for only a year or two after the student graduates, transfers to another school, or leaves the school system.
    • If you need records from a college or university, contact the corresponding medical services or student health department.

alert icon  If you’d like to learn more about how you can find your vaccine records, the Immunization Action Coalition has some additional tipsexternal icon.

What if you can’t find your child’s records

Your child should be considered susceptible to disease and should be vaccinated (or revaccinated) if you can’t find his or her records or their records are incomplete. It is safe for your child to receive a vaccine, even if he or she may have already received it. Alternatively, your child could also have their blood tested for antibodies to determine his or her immunity to certain diseases. However, these tests may not always be accurate and doctors may prefer to revaccinate your child for best protection. Talk to your child’s doctor to determine what vaccines your child needs for protection against vaccine-preventable diseases.

book icon  If you’re adopting or caring for a foster child, ask for vaccination records so you can confirm which vaccines your child has received. See Adoption and Vaccines.

Page last reviewed: May 17, 2019